Suggestions by Blujay

Ideas and suggestions for how to improve the Warzone 2100 base game only. Ideas for mods go in Mapping/Modding instead. Read sticky posts first!
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Blujay777
Greenhorn
Posts: 10
Joined: 22 Dec 2015, 07:30

Suggestions by Blujay

Post by Blujay777 » 18 Jun 2019, 11:01

Hi, dev team!

First of all, HUGE FAN. I've been playing Warzone 2100 for a while now and I love the game. Great work with what you've done, truly. Probably one of my favorite games of all time, mixing the customization aspect with the RTS genre. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making this game possible.

Years back, I tried introducing this game to a bunch of my friends at college so we could goof off on a multiplayer game—no mods, just a plain ol' skirmish. They were somewhat experienced with RTS' and knew how they generally worked (they've played Age of Empires, Clash of Clans, etc). But jumping in, there was a lot of questions that were brought up and a lot of confusion, mainly on where everything was, what certain turrets meant/did, how they could give additional commands to units, what the difference between towers, bunkers, and pits were, and so on. I've recently beat the campaign for my second time through (even though Gamma 9 took FOREVER to finish — those Archangel Batteries should be renamed Devil Batteries, haha) and I've started thinking throughout the rest of my day on some things that could make the game more enjoyable and easier to follow. Now, I know you guys are constantly at work on this and frequently making edits and changes to the game, so I'm going to do my best to only suggest things that are manageable regarding the team's ability and disbursed time. Most of my suggestions are regarding organization anyways, so hopefully that isn't too stressful. So without further ado, these are some things I think could definitely help:

1. Research and Descriptions
One of the major drawbacks of the gameplay that I've encountered is that, especially through the Campaign, I'm given a lot of stuff to research, but I have no idea what exactly I'm research until after I've researched it, and that only comes in the Intelligence tab after I've researched it, at which it pauses the game to show a really cool computerized clip, along with the description of what I just researched. I think the Research panel could be restructured a little bit. First, when you first open the Research panel, it would be cool if everything was organized (this will also massively help for Multiplayer as there is SO MUCH to research in so little time) with something like this:

Research
→ Technology Upgrade (This is where "Composite Alloys" or mass research release packs would go to contribute to the categories below, as well as module researches for structures)
→ Units
→ → Vehicles
→ → Cyborgs
→ Turrets
→ → Weapons
→ → Sensors
→ → Systems
→ Structures
→ → Factories
→ → Defenses
→ → → Weapons
→ → → Sensors

Then, when you actually get to what you can Research, it could be either a double-click or a hover-mouse-single-click, but there should be a way to select the Research and to have the information to know exactly what I'm doing to upgrade my vehicles/base before I confirm, instead of the description being released in the Intelligence section afterwards. If you want to include the cool animation of a computer rendering a weapon/sensor/structure with each description, that would be cool, but I don't know how much strain that would have on the engine to have that be in game. I think that would massively help with organization and with being able to Research stuff.

"But wait, if all the Research videos are staying in Research, what is Intelligence used for?"

Which leads to my next suggestion…

2. Intelligence
Intelligence could become the place where the players view their current game statistics, instead of waiting until the end of a mission/game to see the statistics and how well they did. These statistics would include number of ranked units, units lost, enemy units destroyed, and so on. It could also serve as a location with a value of both the current amount of units out of a very important number necessary to both campaign and multiplayer gameplay: the population limit. It’s somewhat annoying when you put vehicle production on a large queue, only for a buzzer to go off and an error message to jump at the top and say, “Production Stopped — Population Limit Reached” and not have information on what that limit is. Having it could help a lot with time management and strategizing.

I like how Intelligence in the Campaign keeps the current Mission Briefings together in case the player completely forgets what he’s supposed to be doing, or needs to review for strategic purposes. With that said, there could be a separate tab aside from the player statistics for Mission Briefings, where a brief description of the Mission is put in a box, along with the briefing video clips available for review.

For Multiplayer, the second tab in Intelligence, aside from a player statistics page, could be the diplomacy page you currently have now.

3. Production
Like Research, the production could be reorganized as follows to help with less and be easier to follow clutter:

Production
→ Vehicles
→ → Assault
→ → → Ballistic
→ → → → Short Range
→ → → → Long Range
→ → → → Anti-Air
→ → → Missile
→ → → → Short Range
→ → → → Long Range
→ → → → Anti-Air
→ → → Laser
→ → Systems
→ → Commanders
→ Cyborgs
→ → Assault
→ → → Ballistic
→ → → Missile
→ → → Laser
→ → Systems
→ VTOLs
→ → Fighters
→ → Bombers
→ → Transports

It could be a little time consuming labelling all the turret heads by these categories, but in the end, it could be well worth it.

4. Construction
Once again, this is just a formality in formatting a menu to make it more organized. There’s too much clutter, and it’s difficult trying to find a building quickly you’re sifting through pages of options. Especially when you’re continuously researching new buildings and the location of some previously researched items are moved around, it gets annoying just looking for a specific structure. Something that might help finding buildings better could be as follows:

Construction
→ Deconstruct
→ Central (Headquarters, Research, Power, Oil Rigs, Command Center, Laser Satellite Relay, etc)
→ → Buildings
→ → Modules
→ Factories
→ → Vehicle
→ → → Factory
→ → → Repair Facility
→ → Cyborg
→ → VTOL
→ → → VTOL Factory
→ → → VTOL Rearming Pad
→ Defenses
→ → Walls & Mounts (could also include Tank Traps)
→ → Sensors
→ → Turrets
→ → → Hardpoints
→ → → Bunkers
→ → → Emplacements

5. Unit Formation and Movement Synchronization
One of the key struggles I have found in the game is how frequently units will spend countless minutes trying to figure out a way around each other or just end up stuck with no resolution (my personal favorite is when I find trucks literally doing donuts around each other in slow motion when they’re supposed to be constructing buildings). I think a great solution is to implement unit formations: strategic ways for units to move around. This has been a common element of most popular RTS’ released, and could offer additional strategic advantage for the player. For instance, if you’re planning on moving units from one end of the map to the other, have a feature for them to move in a single file line to get through those tough corners, or if you’re prepping to have your units go into a heated battle, you could try a square perimeter technique, where lighter, short ranged combat units protect the slower, heavier long-range units by surrounding them. But unit formations are difficult to achieve without another feature that I think is REALLY important to implement: movement synchronization.

One of my greatest frustrations when playing the campaign is whenever I send units into battle, the faster and weaker ones zoom on ahead of the slower, powerful ones, leaving them open and vulnerable to heavy fire if come across an army of enemies first. If selected with a heavier unit, I think it could be nice if all the units travelled at one speed, even if there are some units that can travel faster. That way when they arrive at the battlefield, they’re all prepared to fight together, rather than get slaughtered immediately, one-by-one. There is some movement synchronization when units are assigned to Commanders, but even then, the faster units always end up getting ahead and getting themselves destroyed. It’s even more annoying when those units are the Commanders themselves, and suddenly my Commander is rendered useless because it’s destroyed immediately.

I also concur with the others that have asked that, “Hold Position,” “Pursue,” and “Guard” orders should be reinstated in the game. There was a continuously problem throughout the campaign with single units chasing down fleeing enemy cyborgs, insubordinately, and getting themselves killed when they found themselves in the enemy’s heavily fortified base. Having those orders back would prevent that from happening.

6. Recycling and Upgrading
One of my favorite features about the game is the concept of recycling: it’s a really nice way to get your energy back from units that just aren’t needed anymore, instead of sending them on suicide missions. However, one thing that I found disappointing was all the really cool bodies for vehicles I was able to research, but how time consuming and risky it would be to recycle my entire army, only to upgrade to a better body, mobility, or even a new weapon for individual vehicles. It could be really nice if there was a button in the Production window that allowed you to “UPGRADE ALL UNITS” at the total cost in energy it would refund to recycle and take to reproduce the unit, but automatically upgrades outstanding unit with any changes made to that unit in the Design tab. Of course, if you could change all of your units in a split second over and over again, that would be incredibly unfair, so an Upgrade All Units button would consume any ability to produce from factories, and the player would need to wait 5 minutes for the units to be upgraded in the field. Additionally, any units changed from ground to VTOL mobility could not be upgraded.

Additionally, if you organized the Production menu like I suggested above, you could upgrade specific sets of units for cheaper costs in energy, like upgrading all Ballistic, Missile, Laser, or Systems units, or VTOL Fighters or VTOL Bombers instead, and would only require the usage of one factory per set of units being upgraded rather than all.

////////

Those were the major thoughts I had about possible suggestions for the game to make it easier to understand and to play, especially for newer players trying it out.

Here are a couple of smaller suggestions I thought of as well:

7. Flamers
Flamers are one of the coolest units in the game, but I feel like they get snubbed so easily because of their lack of versatility. I think it could be cool if instead of shooting out bursts of flame, they shoot out a continuous flame that causes gradual damage to nearby units/structures. Then, as upgrades come in the research, the distance of the flame and the amount of damage done per second increases. It could make the Flamer be a more intimidating foe to take on.

8. The VTOL Strike Sensor
As I inferred in my post regarding Gamma 9, the VTOL Strike Sensor has a very unique ability of not only guiding VTOL attacks, but battery/mortar attacks as well, making it a very powerful tool, capable of reaching beyond that of normal unit vision and wreaking havoc if supplied with ample amounts of VTOL and battery support. If the dev team wishes to keep it this way, it may be more helpful to the player to give the sensor a new name, like “Gamma Sensor” or “Assault Sensor,” along with a description in Research describing its capabilities. If not… well, now you know.

//////////

That’s all I have for suggestions. And again, I know you are all at hard work to make this game the best it can possibly be, and by all means, these suggestions are very much “take it or leave it”. I did my best throughout writing this to use the word “could” instead of “should," emphasizing that these are cool and helpful things that I think could be added to enhance the experience, but are by no means necessary to make the game great — after all, why add paint to a masterpiece? And I could very well be wrong in suggesting some of the things I did: maybe you have tried these things, but some of them make the game crash because of too many animations or features. Regardless, you have all made a fantastic game that I have really enjoyed playing, and I look forward to any future updates you make with it.

Thank you for all your hard work!

Sincerely,

Blujay

Forgon
Code contributor
Code contributor
Posts: 289
Joined: 07 Dec 2016, 22:23

Re: Suggestions by Blujay

Post by Forgon » 18 Jun 2019, 16:35

Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
[...]
1. Research and Descriptions
One of the major drawbacks of the gameplay that I've encountered is that, especially through the Campaign, I'm given a lot of stuff to research, but I have no idea what exactly I'm research until after I've researched it, and that only comes in the Intelligence tab after I've researched it, at which it pauses the game to show a really cool computerized clip, along with the description of what I just researched. I think the Research panel could be restructured a little bit. First, when you first open the Research panel, it would be cool if everything was organized (this will also massively help for Multiplayer as there is SO MUCH to research in so little time) with something like this:

Research
→ Technology Upgrade (This is where "Composite Alloys" or mass research release packs would go to contribute to the categories below, as well as module researches for structures)
→ Units
→ → Vehicles
→ → Cyborgs
→ Turrets
→ → Weapons
→ → Sensors
→ → Systems
→ Structures
→ → Factories
→ → Defenses
→ → → Weapons
→ → → Sensors
This is far too complicated. We also have small icons on all research items that
give visual clues about the kinds of improvement they provide.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
Then, when you actually get to what you can Research, it could be either a double-click or a hover-mouse-single-click, but there should be a way to select the Research and to have the information to know exactly what I'm doing to upgrade my vehicles/base before I confirm, instead of the description being released in the Intelligence section afterwards. If you want to include the cool animation of a computer rendering a weapon/sensor/structure with each description, that would be cool, but I don't know how much strain that would have on the engine to have that be in game. I think that would massively help with organization and with being able to Research stuff.
More detailed tooltips aren't a bad idea, but your proposal is too bloated.
I suspect that most players do not want to be harrassed with animations in the
middle of a game because of an accidental click.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
[...]
2. Intelligence
Intelligence could become the place where the players view their current game statistics, instead of waiting until the end of a mission/game to see the statistics and how well they did. These statistics would include number of ranked units, units lost, enemy units destroyed, and so on.
Not a bad idea, but without a detailed proposal, not very original or useful.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
It could also serve as a location with a value of both the current amount of units out of a very important number necessary to both campaign and multiplayer gameplay: the population limit. It’s somewhat annoying when you put vehicle production on a large queue, only for a buzzer to go off and an error message to jump at the top and say, “Production Stopped — Population Limit Reached” and not have information on what that limit is. Having it could help a lot with time management and strategizing.
Not sure whether the unit limit is a problem.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
[...]
3. Production
Like Research, the production could be reorganized as follows to help with less and be easier to follow clutter:

Production
→ Vehicles
→ → Assault
→ → → Ballistic
→ → → → Short Range
→ → → → Long Range
→ → → → Anti-Air
→ → → Missile
→ → → → Short Range
→ → → → Long Range
→ → → → Anti-Air
→ → → Laser
→ → Systems
→ → Commanders
→ Cyborgs
→ → Assault
→ → → Ballistic
→ → → Missile
→ → → Laser
→ → Systems
→ VTOLs
→ → Fighters
→ → Bombers
→ → Transports

It could be a little time consuming labelling all the turret heads by these categories, but in the end, it could be well worth it.

4. Construction
Once again, this is just a formality in formatting a menu to make it more organized. There’s too much clutter, and it’s difficult trying to find a building quickly you’re sifting through pages of options. Especially when you’re continuously researching new buildings and the location of some previously researched items are moved around, it gets annoying just looking for a specific structure. Something that might help finding buildings better could be as follows:

Construction
→ Deconstruct
→ Central (Headquarters, Research, Power, Oil Rigs, Command Center, Laser Satellite Relay, etc)
→ → Buildings
→ → Modules
→ Factories
→ → Vehicle
→ → → Factory
→ → → Repair Facility
→ → Cyborg
→ → VTOL
→ → → VTOL Factory
→ → → VTOL Rearming Pad
→ Defenses
→ → Walls & Mounts (could also include Tank Traps)
→ → Sensors
→ → Turrets
→ → → Hardpoints
→ → → Bunkers
→ → → Emplacements
As I wrote above, this is far too complicated.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
5. Unit Formation and Movement Synchronization
One of the key struggles I have found in the game is how frequently units will spend countless minutes trying to figure out a way around each other or just end up stuck with no resolution (my personal favorite is when I find trucks literally doing donuts around each other in slow motion when they’re supposed to be constructing buildings). I think a great solution is to implement unit formations: strategic ways for units to move around. This has been a common element of most popular RTS’ released, and could offer additional strategic advantage for the player. For instance, if you’re planning on moving units from one end of the map to the other, have a feature for them to move in a single file line to get through those tough corners, or if you’re prepping to have your units go into a heated battle, you could try a square perimeter technique, where lighter, short ranged combat units protect the slower, heavier long-range units by surrounding them. But unit formations are difficult to achieve without another feature that I think is REALLY important to implement: movement synchronization.

One of my greatest frustrations when playing the campaign is whenever I send units into battle, the faster and weaker ones zoom on ahead of the slower, powerful ones, leaving them open and vulnerable to heavy fire if come across an army of enemies first. If selected with a heavier unit, I think it could be nice if all the units travelled at one speed, even if there are some units that can travel faster. That way when they arrive at the battlefield, they’re all prepared to fight together, rather than get slaughtered immediately, one-by-one. There is some movement synchronization when units are assigned to Commanders, but even then, the faster units always end up getting ahead and getting themselves destroyed. It’s even more annoying when those units are the Commanders themselves, and suddenly my Commander is rendered useless because it’s destroyed immediately.

I also concur with the others that have asked that, “Hold Position,” “Pursue,” and “Guard” orders should be reinstated in the game. There was a continuously problem throughout the campaign with single units chasing down fleeing enemy cyborgs, insubordinately, and getting themselves killed when they found themselves in the enemy’s heavily fortified base. Having those orders back would prevent that from happening.
I'm not aware of anyone planning to reinstate unit formations right now.
Hold, pursue and guard orders are already available in developer builds.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
6. Recycling and Upgrading
One of my favorite features about the game is the concept of recycling: it’s a really nice way to get your energy back from units that just aren’t needed anymore, instead of sending them on suicide missions. However, one thing that I found disappointing was all the really cool bodies for vehicles I was able to research, but how time consuming and risky it would be to recycle my entire army, only to upgrade to a better body, mobility, or even a new weapon for individual vehicles. It could be really nice if there was a button in the Production window that allowed you to “UPGRADE ALL UNITS” at the total cost in energy it would refund to recycle and take to reproduce the unit, but automatically upgrades outstanding unit with any changes made to that unit in the Design tab. Of course, if you could change all of your units in a split second over and over again, that would be incredibly unfair, so an Upgrade All Units button would consume any ability to produce from factories, and the player would need to wait 5 minutes for the units to be upgraded in the field. Additionally, any units changed from ground to VTOL mobility could not be upgraded.

Additionally, if you organized the Production menu like I suggested above, you could upgrade specific sets of units for cheaper costs in energy, like upgrading all Ballistic, Missile, Laser, or Systems units, or VTOL Fighters or VTOL Bombers instead, and would only require the usage of one factory per set of units being upgraded rather than all.
You can already upgrade your units by researching improvements. But exchanging
their components on the fly is a bizarre idea. I don't know other RTS games that
work this way, and I think the current tradeoffs when building units are fine.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
7. Flamers
Flamers are one of the coolest units in the game, but I feel like they get snubbed so easily because of their lack of versatility. I think it could be cool if instead of shooting out bursts of flame, they shoot out a continuous flame that causes gradual damage to nearby units/structures. Then, as upgrades come in the research, the distance of the flame and the amount of damage done per second increases. It could make the Flamer be a more intimidating foe to take on.
You can easily make flamers behave as you like by creating a mod of your own.
I would like to keep them as they are right now. They are powerful weapons but,
similar to real-world cavalry, they cannot be used effectively in every terrain.
Blujay777 wrote:
18 Jun 2019, 11:01
8. The VTOL Strike Sensor
As I inferred in my post regarding Gamma 9, the VTOL Strike Sensor has a very unique ability of not only guiding VTOL attacks, but battery/mortar attacks as well, making it a very powerful tool, capable of reaching beyond that of normal unit vision and wreaking havoc if supplied with ample amounts of VTOL and battery support. If the dev team wishes to keep it this way, it may be more helpful to the player to give the sensor a new name, like “Gamma Sensor” or “Assault Sensor,” along with a description in Research describing its capabilities. If not… well, now you know. [...]
Some change for the VTOL Strike Sensors of Gamma 9 would be good to reduce
confusion among players who have to face them. I'm sure that a good solution
will be found once this is discussed in the campaign development thread.

Blujay777
Greenhorn
Posts: 10
Joined: 22 Dec 2015, 07:30

Re: Suggestions by Blujay

Post by Blujay777 » 18 Jun 2019, 20:07

This is far too complicated. We also have small icons on all research items that
give visual clues about the kinds of improvement they provide.
Like I said, a lot of this is just suggestions that are very take it or leave it. Obviously, the menus look a little cluttered on screen: I had difficulty writing a bullet point series and used arrows instead (but as you can see below, I figured it out). I do think, however, that menus could be helpful in finding specific items, and they could be very much simplified to find items faster, even looking something like:

Production
  • Vehicles
    • Assault
      Systems
      Commanders
  • Cyborgs
    • Assault
      Systems
  • VTOLs
    • Fighters
      Bombers
      Transports
More detailed tooltips aren't a bad idea, but your proposal is too bloated.
I suspect that most players do not want to be harrassed with animations in the
middle of a game because of an accidental click.
Also, to prevent accidental clicking in Research, you'd obviously need to find the researched item before selecting it. Players wouldn't just select the research button and suddenly video would be playing. For me, I had no idea what a CB Turret even was until after it was researched. I just wish that I could know what I was researching before I did. Also, please don't shut down the idea just because it's bloated... I was hoping more detail would convey the idea better.
Not a bad idea, but without a detailed proposal, not very original or useful.
As for Intelligence, Intelligence could become the place where the players view their current game statistics, instead of waiting until the end of a mission/game to see the statistics and how well they did. These statistics would include number of ranked units, units lost, enemy units destroyed, amount of energy generated and consumed (to show player efficiency), and so on. You'd simply click on it like you do now, and in the Campaign, it could switch to a separate window outside of gameplay, or in MP, just in gameplay without making it cluttered.
Not sure whether the unit limit is a problem.
The unit limit itself is not a problem—but maybe just the knowledge of what that unit cap is would be nice?
As I wrote above, this is far too complicated.
Once again, I wrote it too complicated, I agree. But the idea of simplified menus for organization could be nice. Even like

Construction
  • Deconstruct
  • Central
  • Factories
  • Defenses
to bring some sort of organization could be helpful, so players are not sifting through pages trying to find a specific building.
I'm not aware of anyone planning to reinstate unit formations right now.
Hold, pursue and guard orders are already available in developer builds.
I didn't know they were ever instated. I'm glad to hear that developer builds have hold, pursue and guard orders. I just wish they were in the main build -- I don't understand why they were taken away... did it make the game too complicated? Confusing? Were there too many bugs with it?
You can already upgrade your units by researching improvements. But exchanging
their components on the fly is a bizarre idea. I don't know other RTS games that
work this way, and I think the current tradeoffs when building units are fine.
Yes, I'm not talking about small improvements like ROF, damage, or movement speed. Games like Age of Empires or Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds had it so when you upgraded the unit itself, their rendering on the map changed with them to match the upgrade so you didn't have to make new units to replace your old ones. Once again, I do love recycling, though. Really cool idea -- not arguing with that, whatsoever.
You can easily make flamers behave as you like by creating a mod of your own.
I would like to keep them as they are right now. They are powerful weapons but,
similar to real-world cavalry, they cannot be used effectively in every terrain.
Obviously, and the player would have to strategize accordingly for using. They would still lack the range they do now, but could be really cool as a close combat tank if there was a continuous stream. Just my thought, though.

////

Thank you for all your hard work, truly. You've done a fantastic job. Once again, these are not MUST HAVES, they're suggestions, and you've all created a great game as it is.

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